The Islanders have been one of the NHL’s most dominant home teams this season, going an impressive 18-2-2 in 22 games at UBS Arena. They enter in second place in the division standings after compiling 60 points and a 28-13-4 overall record in 45 games this season, putting them just two points back of the Washington Capitals with a game in-hand and just 11 games left on the regular-season schedule. Meanwhile, the Rangers are trying to keep their heads above water in the chase for one of the final postseason spots. New York is in fifth place in the MassMutual East standings with 52 points and a 23-16-6 record through 45 games.
Can the Islanders keep pace atop the division standings with a win over the Rangers on Tuesday night?
Shesterkin looking for first win of the season vs. IslandersNew York earned a four-game sweep against the New Jersey Devils with a 5-3 road win on Sunday night. Mika Zibanejad scored the game-winning goal on the power play with just three minutes remaining in regulation while Ryan Strome added an empty netter in the win. Chris Kreider also had a power-play goal while Vitali Kravtsov and Alexis Lafreniere lit the lamp for the Rangers, who are now 8-1-2 over their last 11 games. Goaltender Alexander Georgiev did his job, stopping 25 of 28 shots on the night.
The Blueshirts have turned their season around over the last 20 games, going 13-4-3 during that span. They have also found their touch on offense as of late, notching three goals or more in 12 of their last 16 contests and 15 of their last 20 games.
Igor Shesterkin will be back between the pipes for the Rangers on Tuesday evening. Shesterkin is 13-9-3 with a 2.28 GAA and .925 save percentage in 27 games (24 starts) so far this season and he comes in playing arguably the best hockey of his career. Shesterkin has won three straight starts while posting two shutouts and a .960 save percentage during that span. However, he comes into this matchup in search of his first victory versus the Islanders this season. In three starts versus the Islanders, Shesterkin is 0-2-1 with a 3.00 GAA and .905 save percentage.
Varlamov hoping to continue success vs. RangersThe Islanders snapped a two-game skid with a gritty 1-0 overtime win on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night. Nick Leddy’s centering pass was tipped in by a Flyers defenseman in the extra session, giving the 29-year-old defenseman his second goal of the season. Ilya Sorokin stopped all 30 shots that he faced on the night to earn his third shutout of the season in the win.
❌ Sorokin ❌ pic.twitter.com/RHhq83KyMB— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 19, 2021
New York played its last game without center Josh Bailey and winger Cal Clutterbuck, who each missed their second straight games due to undisclosed injuries. Head coach Barry Trotz said after the win that both players were considered day-to-day.
Semyon Varlamov is scheduled to patrol the crease for the Islanders on Tuesday evening. The 32-year-old netminder is 16-9-3 with a 2.24 GAA and .922 save percentage in 29 games (28 starts) so far this season. While his home and road splits are similar, Varlamov has been tough to beat at UBS Arena this season. He is 10-2-2 at home compared to just 6-7-1 on the road this season.
In three starts versus the crosstown-rival Rangers, Varlamov has compiled a strong 1.02 GAA and .966 save percentage so far this season. He’s made 16 career starts against New York, going 8-6-2 with a 2.89 GAA and .909 save percentage in those matchups.
- Rangers are 6-2 in their last 8 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation.
- Rangers are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. East.
- Rangers are 6-1 in their last 7 in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 situation.
- Islanders are 4-9 in their last 13 when their opponent scores 5 goals or more in their previous game
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Rangers have to be the pick here. New York has been on fire as of late, going 8-1-2 over its last 10 games and 13-4-3 over its last 20 games overall. The Rangers’ offense has also come alive during that span, scoring at least three goals 15 times over their last 20 contests, which should be more than enough support for Shesterkin, who also comes into this game riding a personal hot streak. The Rangers’ netminder owns a .966 save percentage over his last three starts and has yet to beat the Islanders in three tries. On the other hand, the Islanders have struggled to score as of late, averaging just 1.2 goals per game over their last five contests. Take the Rangers to come out on top on the road in this MassMutual East Division showdown on Tuesday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
With plenty left to play for both teams, this game should have a playoff-type intensity to it, which bodes well for a low-scoring game. The Islanders have scored one goal or fewer in four of their last five games and will be up against one of the hottest goaltenders in the NHL here. Shesterkin comes in red-hot and has also been better on the road (6-3-3, 2.14 GAA, .929) compared to at home (7-6-0, 2.42 GAA, .921) so far this season. Meanwhile, Varlamov owns a 1.02 GAA in three starts versus the Rangers this year. Take this matchup to stay under the projected total on Tuesday night.